"A year from now you will wish you had started today."
There are numerous internet sites, self-help books and motivational speakers out there all preaching the same thing: To be successful, you must set goals for yourself and continually monitor them. My question is this: how does this translate to the endurance runner?
Whether you realize it or not, you probably are setting running and training goals for yourself. Almost everyone who registers for a race or event wants to see how they can do. Whether it is the first time that they have done an event or they are going for a new PB, most people set out to better themselves in some way. I can't leave out those events that people go to just for the experience of the event, these events still hold expectations of outcome in some form or another.
Many job interviews start with question: Where do you see yourself in 2 years? This same type of "outside of the box" question can also be asked of your running: What kind of runner do I want to be 1 year from now?
Types of goals
There are two general types of goals:
I want to enjoy my training
I want to be consistent
I want to run injury free
I want to lose Weight
I want to run a marathon
I want to Cut 5 mins off my 10km race time
I want to lose 5 lbs in the next month
6 Keys to Defining Effective Goal setting:
- Your goals should be very specific and measurable.
Â· I will run the Toronto Marathon in 3:35
- Your goals should have a time frame.
Â· I want to be able to run a 40 min 10k by June 12th.
- Your goals should be stated in the positive.
Â· I donÂt want to finish behind Steve at the Mansfield race.
- Your goals should be challenging.
Â· It should be a stretch to reach your goal.
- Your goals should also be realistic and not too far out of reach.
Â· I want to win the Toronto Marathon
- Your goals should be in your control.
Â· I want to be top five in my age in the Spring Run-off
Setting three tiers of measurable goals (also called ABC goals) give you three opportunities to achieve success:
- Acceptable - To successfully finish the race comfortably without injury
- Moderately challenging - To break four-hours in the marathon
- Very challenging - To break 3:45 for my first marathon
Goal Setting Timetable
When setting goals you should keep in mind that in order to reach the big goals, you also have to reach smaller goals in the process.
To Run the Boston Marathon April 2007
Long Term Goal (8 month)
Qualify for Boston at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Sept 2006 with a finishing time of 3:40:59
Long Term Spring Marathon (4 month) Goal
2 month Goal
Complete Around the Bay 30km in the equivalent (2:40:55) Marathon time of my Mississauga Marathon time of 3:50:59.
1 Month Goal
Complete the PTBO half marathon in a comfortable time of sub 1:49.
Establish my eating pattern and Hydration strategy for my long runs.
2 Week Goal
Run 10 times in the next two weeks with 6 quality strength and Stretching times.
Try out some type of gel or nutrition on the long runs.
Get out of bed and run at least once at 5 am
Drink more water on and before each run
Once you have written out your goals and set a plan of attack there are still a few things to remember.
Be Flexible - Build flexibility into your plan to aim for less ambitious goals if things don't pan out the way you had planned. For example, if you become injured and can't continue training, you can cross-train instead. If there isn't adequate time to train for the race you originally intended to run, either select another event a few months later or register for some shorter events such as a 5K or 10K.
Record and/or Tell others about your goals - Writing your goals down in a training log or posting them on a wall that you see everyday can be highly motivating. Family members and friends will be more supportive and understanding of the commitment you've made if you've informed them of your goals.
Get Support - Hire a coach or trainer to build a program and monitor it for you. Personal attention, support and feedback are invaluable tachievingheiving your goals. Join a run club or build a group of peers that you can run with that will give you the support you need. Remember that it is more beneficial to run with someone who can give you as much support as you can give them. Don't settle for goals that are below your training schedule. It all comes down to "Are you reaching your goals? or are you wasting your time?".
Utilize time-management principles -By carefully scheduling your workout times, you are more likely to stay focused, determined, and committed to accomplishing your goal.
Record your progress ÂKeep up with your training log. The accountability component of checking in to report progress is a very powerful means to keep your focus.
Don't be compulsive - Overtraining is counter-productive to accomplishing your goals.
Match your training to your Goals - What is your goal race? When does it start? Build a training program that mirrors your goal race.
Reward yourself for reaching your goals - Build in rewards for yourself when you achieve your short and long term goals.
"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt
"Never let yesterday use up today." -- Richard H. Nelson